Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been slammed repeatedly by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for supporting a Texas plan that allows the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition for college.
Now, questions are being asked Romney's Massachusett's healthcare plan and how it applies to illegal immigrants.
Noam Levey of The Los Angeles Times writes:
The Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.
Uninsured, poor immigrants can walk into a health clinic or hospital in the state and get publicly subsidized care at virtually no cost to them, regardless of their immigration status.
. . .
The Massachusetts program, which cost more than $400 million last year, paid for 1.1 million hospital and clinic visits. It's unclear how many undocumented patients benefited because the state does not record that data.
The Romney campaign referred questions to Tim Murphy, who served as Romney's state health and human services secretary. Murphy said the governor never intended the Health Safety Net to serve undocumented immigrants.
"Our view when we signed the law was that all benefits would be for people in the commonwealth who were here legally," Murphy said, noting that the regulations implementing the program were written after Romney left office in 2007.
Perry's campaign wasted no time pouncing:
“Governor Romney’s government-mandated health care plan provided free care for illegal immigrants in Massachusetts, establishing just the kind of illegal immigration magnet Governor Romney claims to oppose,” said Perry spokesman Mark Miner.
“Program rules established by the Romney Administration in 2004 clearly state that citizenship is not required for free health care and subsidies and health centers cannot consider citizenship before rendering that free care.”
What's the truth?
It may not be clear at this point except for this - illegal immigrants will continue to be political fodder in the GOP primary and Hispanic voters in Florida and elsewhere may soon begin to wonder whether the issue is just about illegals.